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Issue 07:03:01

Industry Update

MasterCard changes rates, stations benefit from rate caps

ISO opportunity: 'No interchange' card debuts

BofA stands behind pilot card program

NAOPP: Hard at work in 2007

New MasterCard interchange rates, effective April and June 2007


Virtual reality ATM cards put on hold

By Lynn Walford, Contributor

AgenTalkSM: Richard Borylo
A new agent's stellar flight plan


Take a place at the table

By Steve McRae, VeriFone


Street SmartsSM:
Transaction cost as commodity

By Michael Nardy, Electronic Payments Inc. (EPI)

Card Association compliance: A reality check

By Jared Isaacman, United Bank Card Inc.

Prep for success

By J. David Siembieda, CrossCheck Inc.

Think chargebacks are bad? Look what Uncle Sam can do

By Theodore F. Monroe et al., Attorneys at Law

Matching merchants to solutions: Five tips

By Aaron Bills, 3Delta Systems Inc.

Company Profiles

HomeATM Payments

Network Merchants Inc.

New Products

Wi-Fi terminals give merchants flexibility

No more quilting bees with ISO software

Wireless ePay adds support for Windows Mobile


Change, the elixir of success



Resource Guide


Article published in Issue Number: 070301

All good things come to women who mentor

Mark your calendars's next meeting will offer women in the industry a chance to learn more about the organization's mentoring program and other activities. It will feature acclaimed speaker Martha Lanier, who will give a presentation entitled "Staging Yourself for Success: Powerful Public Speaking."

The event will occur just before the ETA Annual Meeting and Expo on Tuesday, April 17, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center North in Las Vegas. For more details, visit

It has been decades since American women began exchanging aprons for business attire and coffee klatches for power lunches. But in some industries, females remain in the minority. And, lacking long-established "good ol' boy" networks, they're finding creative ways to help one another achieve professional success.

For the payments industry, Women Networking in Electronic Transactions, or, does this, and more. was founded in 2005 by Holli Targan, Partner in the law firm Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss; Mary Gerdts, founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of POST Integrations and EboCom LLC; Diane Vogt, President of National Merchant Sales & Relationship Management for First Data Corp.; and Linda Perry, Visa U.S.A. Senior Vice President of the Acquirer and Processor Sales Division of Client Services. has a lofty mission:

To provide a place where professional women in our industry can come together to learn from each other. To educate ourselves about the industry. To meet other women. To network with industry newcomers and big-wigs alike. To coach each other on how to blend a stellar career with a satisfying personal life.

The group meets twice yearly before the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) spring and fall gatherings. Meetings are educational. They also provide a networking goldmine for women seeking to develop professionally, cultivate leadership skills and position themselves for greater success.

Testing the waters

To further its mission, will launch a mentoring program in April. It will establish a formal system in which women in the payments industry can learn from each other's experience. In preparation for the launch, ran a pilot program from August 2006 through January 2007. It paired nine mentors with nine protégés.

"We gained valuable insight from our pilot for the best way to launch and administer the mentoring program," said industry consultant Heidi Goff, a pilot program mentor. "We also test-drove our mentoring tool kit, and it received positive feedback from both mentors and protégés."

Program participants are members willing to share their knowledge and commit to a year-long mentoring relationship. Both mentors and protégés complete questionnaires. This helps match protégés wanting to work on specific goals with mentors who have the strengths most likely to help them reach their objectives.

A recent survey of's membership found the opportunity to meet and interact with other women in the industry was considered the organization's most valuable benefit. But the fledgling mentor program was highly lauded.

"A program like this is needed in every industry," said Gerri Calabrese. She is a pilot program mentor and Senior Director, Strategic Market Development of Electronic Check Services for NOVA Information Systems. "I had wonderful mentors early on ... and still thank them for what they did for my career in the payments industry."

It takes a committee

The mentoring committee is chaired by Goff and Sarah Owen, Vice President, Product Development, First Data Commercial Services. Also on the committee are industry veterans Calabrese, Joyce Cook, Kate Gillespie, Christa Titus, Wendy Humphrey, Dianne Wynn and Tina Reese.

The committee hopes to create a large database of potential mentors and protégés to aid in pairing women in the program. It also hopes to achieve 50% participation among's approximately 110 members.

"I firmly believe in this program," said Jan McGrath, Director of Operations & Implementation at TXNPlus Ltd. "Women in the payments industry are the minority, and too few of them are in senior positions within the industry." McGrath is also a pilot mentor.

"The mentoring program provides a vehicle for the sharing of experiences and know-how ... without being technical with each other," McGrath said. "It is a safe and understanding environment in which to extend your ideas and thoughts and to try new things on for size."

She added that the mentoring experience empowers women and will be fundamental in bringing about change within the industry.

Sylvia Lopez, Relationship Manager at Heartland Payment Systems Inc., is another pilot mentor. She said mentoring other professional women is "a very integral part of who we are as women. And unlike some men, I think that women are not as afraid ... that the woman sitting next to them might be more experienced.

"I believe women are willing to share their industry knowledge unconditionally for the benefit of another woman. We are just different."

A woman's touch

Lopez's protégé, Audrey Blackmon, agrees that women and men have different struggles. Blackmon is a Vice President of ISO Agent Sales at SureWest Communications. "Like most who signed up for the mentor program, I was thinking I would get all of the answers to my questions on how to start my new business from a seasoned veteran," Blackmon said.

"I had recently made the jump from the third-party hardware/software side of the industry to the merchant processing side," she added. "I was so excited when I was assigned a mentor with 20-plus years of experience. Little did I realize I would end up learning so much more and gaining a lifelong friend."

Creating a formal program to mimic traditionally informal relationships took a great deal of work.'s mentoring committee put together an extensive mentoring guide, a mentoring contract, and even nondisclosure agreements for mentors and protégés to sign.

"Mentoring in any fashion, whether through a formal process or a casual encounter, is a great thing," Owen said. "However, by formalizing this process we hope to make mentoring available to more women."

Pilot protégé Reese, Director of National Sales at First Data Commercial Services, said the structure is important. "It really helps to keep you focused," she said. "You don't have to be gridlocked by the structure, but it does provide a framework so everyone knows what to expect.

"It is a little like a performance review: It's very thought-provoking, even if you don't really want to do it. ... In the mentoring setting, it's even more useful. My mentor gave me great, objective advice. And I think you can be more honest. You may want to improve on your weaknesses, but you may not feel comfortable bringing up your weaknesses to your manager."

Reese also pointed out that the mentoring program exemplifies's power to improve women's lives. "It was great to have people who are successful in the payments industry to turn to for expertise and experience and encouragement," she said. "These are some of the brightest women in the industry."

"It is obviously a commitment on the part of the mentors, but I hope they get something back from the experience. I like to think my relationship with Heidi (Goff) was reciprocal."

From protégé to mentor

Reese was so impressed by the program that she has joined the mentoring committee to help with the official rollout. "You can be a mentor and a protégé, both," she said. "It's important to give something back."

The pilot mentors all seem to agree they are reaping many rewards from the program. "I think the role of a mentor is a learning role just as much as the role of a protégé," McGrath said.

"As a mentor you listen, you hear yourself think, and answer the questions and challenges of the protégé," she added. "When else do you get time to reflect on where you have been and what you have done? But the best part is that this is a two-way street; the protégé has a lot to teach you in return."

Lopez said that for her giving is more joyous than receiving. "You don't have to have a lot to give," she said. "But if you just share as you go through life, in everything you do, you will be rich. Knowledge is power. It doesn't cost you a thing to share. Mentoring was absolutely worthwhile. I'll do it again."

Owen said women in the mentoring program can act as both mentor and protégé. "We ask that women commit to meeting at least once a month for an hour," she said. "If you can commit to two hours, one as a protégé and one as a mentor, we would absolutely encourage it."

Program participants run the gamut from newbies straight out of college to seasoned industry veterans. Many have indicated they want to play both mentor and protégé roles.

"It is amazing what can happen when two women help each other and create this special type of relationship," Owen said. "In most cases, not only do the protégés learn from their mentors, but the mentors learn a lot from the protégés as well.

"The program allows you to participate in a whole new relationship with another successful woman in the industry. It creates an environment to discuss current topics, as well as the traditional issues faced by women balancing workplace and home commitments."

Owen added that new relationships are "great resources to both give and get connectivity and reinforcement in our business and personal lives. women have so much to offer each other and the willingness to make the commitment. It is definitely a win-win."

Lifelong friendship

Although the program starts with a formal mentor-protégé relationship, participants say it is likely to evolve into a long-term, less formal one. "I consider Heidi [Goff] a good friend now," Reese said. "The pilot program may be over, but my respect and the friendship I feel for Heidi goes on."

Like Reese and Blackmon, McGrath's protégé-mentor relationship also blossomed into friendship. "My protégé is a very intelligent woman with ambitions and strength that I admire," McGrath said.

"So I got to spend time talking and discussing stuff with her that would not necessarily come up in conversation if you just met each other. I got a new friend out of this exercise, and that is a bonus." McGrath said an informal mentor has helped her throughout her career. She hopes to provide the same level of encouragement and wisdom within the more formal structure.

"My mentor is a manager I had in ANZ Bank in Australia," she said. "He was responsible for moving me to my first overseas posting in Hong Kong and has since seen me through all my moves around the world.

"He is and will be a lifetime friend. When things get tough for me, he is the person I turn to for challenges, guidance and direction. I trust him and his judgment 150%. He has a very senior role in China these days, and to this day he finds time for me whenever I ask for it."

McGrath said her mentor's role was never formalized. "He just found himself in that role, and I don't see it being any different for participants in the program," she said.

"I hope to _ and will make every effort to _ stay in contact as a friend and a mentor with my current and future protégés. I see myself as part of their journey now and can't wait to see where it takes us."

Article published in issue number 070301

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